Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Looking for the most magical and unusual things to do in Lisbon? I got you covered. I’ve been to Lisbon twice and still have much to explore. It has quickly become a top destination. It’s a gorgeous city, more affordable than some European countries, and has a large expat population. So if you love magical destinations and unique experiences, you will enjoy this post.

1. Walk around the Timeout Market in Lisbon

The Timeout Market is a foodies’ paradise. Top chefs and restaurateurs from around the country come together to provide the best that Lisbon has to offer. Some days, they have cooking courses, dancing classes, and live music. The food was so good! There was a wide array of fish, Portuguese baked goods, and freshly brewed coffee. There’s no way you’ll leave hungry. I love the Timeout Market concept.

the inside of the Timeout Food court, you can see the sign and lots of people shopping around

2. Visit the Tower of Belem

The Tower of Belem is a 16th-century fort that sits on the water. It’s not very crowded, but I would try to get there early if you want fewer people in your photos. It’s a beautiful building, but I wouldn’t pay to go inside because there’s not much to see.

During the warmer seasons, vendors sell snacks and fresh fruit. A few steps away from the Tower, there’s also a cafe named Confeitaria Nacional Belém. It”s great for a view of the Tower of Belem during your morning coffee, but I found the food very average. For the best pastéis de Beléms, I recommend visiting Pastéis de Belém, less than ten minutes from the Tower of Belem.

3. Eat at Pastéis de Belém

While you’re near the Tower of Belem, I suggest eating at the Pastéis de Belém. Try making a reservation in advance as there is usually an extremely long line. I spent about 40 minutes in line and it was very crowded inside. I recommend coming early, as they do sell out of crowd favorites. Try their namesake, the Pastéis de Belém, but save room to explore other dishes.

The pastéis de Belém are delicious here, but truthfully, I had others that were just as good at other bakeries so if you’re short on time, it’s okay to skip.

dark skinned hand holding a pastel de belem with a beach in the background. There's a kite flying in the background

4. Visit Sintra for the Day

I’ve been twice, and I’ve gone home extremely tired. It’s a lot of walking. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. I suggest researching the places you would like to visit while at Sintra. There’s so much to see that it can easily be a 2-day trip. My favorite places to visit there are:

  • Peña Palace
  • Castle of the Moors
  • Palácio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz
  • Quinta da Regaleira
  • Cabo da Roca

5. Take a Surfing Class in Carcavelos: Unusual Things to do in Lisbon

I took a fantastic introductory surfing class through Airbnb Experiences. The class was pretty fun, and the instructors were very patient. They usually start a bit early and have transportation if leaving from Lisbon. Make sure to eat before going to the class. There are restaurants near the surf camp, but they are expensive, and I wasn’t happy with my meal. The decor is gorgeous and gives off a Bali vibe.

A Person Surfing on the Sea

6. Have a photoshoot at the Pink Street

a street with pink flooring in Lisbon
Photo by Dylan Leagh

Did you go to Lisbon if you don’t have a photo of Pink Street? While there, eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes. Little-known fact: Pink Street used to be a very dodgy area filled with crime, but the government rebranded the area by painting the road pink and adding more restaurants. Now, it’s a must visit and the perfect place for photos.

It gets very busy during the evening so I recommend going there at sunrise if you want photos without lots of people in the background.

7. Visit the Monastery of Jerónimos: Unusual Things to do in Lisbon

It’s gorgeous and a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you’re a history buff, it’s a must-visit. It’s also a few minutes’ walk from other historical places such as the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Museu Coleção Berardo ( Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art), and the Cultural Center of Belem. There are also lots of unique cafes around.

Although Lisbon is a fantastic city, if you have more time do visit other areas such as Portimão, Aveiro, and Porto. Portugal has so much to offer and so much to see.


By Lala